Of course a man from the 1840’s designed a speculum. The design has changed little from when he tested it on slaves. How fucked up are both those sentences?
Because this pregnancy is deemed high risk we’re in and out of the hospital like fleas in heat. We’re in love with our consultant Malachi, he’d make us turn but alas he’s gay too… I told you everyone is gay. Malachi is like a teddy bear wearing a doctors coat. He tells us repeatedly that we are not wasting his time and to come in at any stage if we have a concern.
Week 15 is when we lost our last pregnancy so herself is understandably up to ninety. I’m nervous too but I hide it, one of us has to be positive and ironically that’s me. This week she notices some spotting of blood on her knickers. We call Malachi and he tells us to come in. He scans herself, everything looks good. Then he takes out the speculum. Herself looks at me and I cross my legs.
All women can relate. You strip off your bottom half. Lie on a cold plastic table that many other arse cheeks have christened. Then you place a glorified kitchen towel over your exposed crotch. You lie there behind the curtain mortified that the doctor or nurse will notice your five week old pubic shadow that you hastily tried to shave off that morning and failed miserably as the eruptions of razor burn attest to.
“Are you ready?” Asks the doctor. You want to shout, no I am not fucking ready to be inserted with a crude plastic tool but instead you say,
“OK, hitch up your legs a bit for me please.” You comply and hope that you smell of anything but vagina down there.
“God the weather is fierce cold these days.” That’s it, chat about the weather, this will totally normalise this situation.
“Oh yes, snow is due Friday apparently… OK this is going to feel a little cold.” The fucking understatement of the century. And then it’s shoved in. You gasp and try not to tell the doctor to desist from inserting something that looks and feels like big bird’s beak made from icicles inside you.
“I know it’s a bit uncomfortable,” he says. A bit fucking uncomfortable? Here let me get a few pegs from my clothes line and pinch your ball sac simultaneously with them a few times. Then let’s have a cup of tea and chat about what constitutes as uncomfortable.
This time I’m sitting outside the curtain. I look at Malachi unwrap the clear plastic speculum and genuinely feel bad for herself but also feel very relieved. It is one ugly piece of “engineering”.
“Are you decent?” Malaky winks at me and oh how we laugh. Malachi is just so funny.
“Yes,” she says. Her voice betrays resignation. Malachi pops behind the curtains. I hear the speculum squeak like a car jack.
“I’m so sorry about this,” he says, “I read yesterday that they are redesigning it.”
“About fucking time,” we both say.
“OK, I can see some erosion at about 2 o’clock on your cervix. That’s normal. You’ve nothing to worry about.” I’m lost in thought that you can read time from a cervix.
“Thanks Malachi,” says herself as he removes the car jack and throws it away.
“One prototype is supposed to be just like inserting a tampon,” he says as he snaps his rubber gloves off.
“Wow that would be amazing,” herself says. You’re amazing I whisper to Malachi through the curtains.